Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey issued a statement today clarifying controversial comments he made about Saturday’s anti-lockdown protest at City Hall.
Bailey spoke to CTV News shortly after hundreds of people gathered downtown to oppose new restrictions and business closures. Most were not wearing masks.
“For those people there today, I applaud them,” said Bailey who went on to add that many others who didn’t attend the protest support “cautious reopening.”
Bailey’s comments came at the end of a week in which some local business owners defied his own government’s closure order, and at least one was charged by Sarnia’s bylaw enforcement office.
The social media backlash was swift and sparked questions at Queen’s Park.
John Vanthof, the NDP member for Timiskaming—Cochrane, asked the Conservative government whether Bailey would apologize.
“He applauded them,” Vanthof said. “Despite COVID numbers spreading like wildfire in his community and pleas from (the) mayor and council for more support, the local member seems to be cheering on protestors.”
In a statement released today, Bailey said he supports his government’s health measures and encourages residents to wear masks.
Bailey his comments were intended to reference the support shown to small businesses in the community and not in reference to the anti-lockdown protest.
“For clarity, I applaud the small businesses that have pushed through the pandemic,” he said.
MPP Vanthof went on to ask Premier Doug Ford why he hasn’t responded to Mayor Mike Bradley’s request for additional vaccine, given Sarnia-Lambton’s “active outbreak.”
Premier Ford responded by saying he’s given his personal cell phone number to all the mayors and wardens of the province.
“I’ll make a point of making sure I call the mayor down there and provide any support,” Ford said.
“But in saying that, any mayor knows—and I’ve said it numerous times on calls with them—that they can give me a call, send me a message and I’ll guarantee I’ll get back to them. But I’ll make a point of getting back to him personally.”